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Tuffy Struts the Commencement Stage

Student behind the mascot suit, Colin Hicks, reflects on his experience as Tuffy the Titan
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Over four days of 2022 Commencement at Cal State Fullerton, thousands of graduates adorned in flashy kicks, practical flats and high heels crossed the stage. On the final day of commencement, one graduate’s footwear stood out from the rest: Two furry, elephant feet.

Colin Hicks, who received a bachelor’s degree in communications on Thursday, revealed at his graduation ceremony he was Tuffy the Titan. Hicks kept his identity as Cal State Fullerton’s lovable mascot a secret for seven years — while he revved up fans at sporting and campus events, high-fived fans and took selfies with anyone who asked.

Wearing Tuffy’s furry feet, Hicks strutted across the stage, did a jump kick and gave CSUF President Fram Virjee a huge Tuffy the Titan hug in front of thousands of cheering graduates and their families.

“Being Tuffy gave me the opportunity to have a unique college experience unlike anyone else,” says the new graduate. “It’s been an honor to uphold the tradition and legacy of Tuffy over these years.”

How has being Tuffy empowered you to stay connected to the university and work toward your degree? 

If I wasn’t Tuffy, I probably would not have had as much Titan pride as I do now. I mean it comes with the job. Being Tuffy kept me going through the tough days. Whenever I would get down or stressed out with homework, I would get to work an event or basketball game and just let loose and have fun. It was a big stress release. Working with all kinds of different events from athletic games to special events on and off campus, I got a lot of hands-on experience working in different fields. Sometimes, I was able to use my experience in class projects.

“It was a special time to be able to perform and have fun without the fear of judgement because no one knew who I was.”

Colin Hicks ’22 (B.A. communications)

What are some of the most memorable things you’ve done as Tuffy? 

Some of my favorite events and most memorable would have to be the CSUF Night at the Anaheim Ducks, CSUF Dodger games, Welcome to CSUF Day and homecoming to just name a few. My all-time favorites also have to be the times I got to travel off campus. I got to fly to Sacramento in 2016 for Stand with CSU, to New York City in 2017 to help ring the closing bell of the NASDAQ exchange and to Detroit in 2018 to cheer on the Titans in the NCAA March Madness tournament.

What was your seven-year journey as Tuffy like? 

Being Tuffy for the past seven years has been one amazing journey and a huge honor. It opened the door for so many new opportunities for me. I am just so thankful for the amazing people and friends I have made along the way. I hope that my legacy and everything I helped bring to Tuffy will continue to live on as I graduate. I look forward to returning to campus as an alumnus and getting to meet Tuffy.”

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Jillian Brander

Jillian Brander